“My name is Julie. I am 53 years old and I have been married almost 30 years. My husband is a retired police officer. Our 22-year-old son was ROTC in college and now he is a Second Lieutenant in the Army. Our 21-year-old daughter is finishing up her senior year of undergrad and is heading to medical school.
Back in 1996 I had surgery for herniated disc in my lower spine. All was well for a while, but slowly over the years it degenerated. My back would often ‘go out’ and for a few days or weeks I would walk crooked and in pain. Eventually I started to lose feeling in my foot. My spine progressively got worse and recently my doctor said it was time to fuse it.
I feel like I missed out on so much when the kids were little. I would take them to the playground, but could only sit and watch. Playing with them was usually limited to activities that weren’t physically demanding. With friends, I missed out on canoe trips, backyard volleyball, hiking, and other activities.
Now that I’ve had successful spinal fusion surgery, I am looking forward to being active and involved. Fourteen days post-op, I walked a mile! I would love to one day meet the donor family to thank them in person. I wrote a letter to them, but I would love to have the opportunity to express my heartfelt appreciate for the precious gift of their loved one.
My recent Facebook post:
‘During surgery a couple weeks ago, I received donor tissue. I just wrote a letter to the donor’s family to try to express my appreciation. It was difficult to write since my gain is someone else’s heartbreaking loss, but I wanted them to know how grateful I am.
PSA: Consider being an organ/tissue donor if you haven’t already. You can help several people with your gifts of tissue & organs, and the recipients will be forever grateful.’”